Let’s Talk Joinery

What is the difference between your typical self-assembled dining table and our Teak & Timber table designs? Well, pretty much everything! In addition to the materials we use, the joinery methods behind our designs are what sets our pieces apart and establish them as heirloom furniture.

In today’s “fast-food” furniture buying experience you receive your furniture wrapped up in a box ready for you to assemble yourself. If you have ever put together a piece of furniture like this, you know you use a variety of screws, nails, and pegs to build your piece. These are usually the moments you find yourself sweating and questioning everything about your life because you cannot even manage to assemble a simple bookcase. You know you’ve been there! Anyways, all this to say, although technically using screws and plastic pegs is considered joinery, the strength of this type of joinery does not compare to the ancient joinery methods used by woodworkers years ago. 

Back in the day, wooden joinery was the trick of the trade. Did you know quality joinery methods are documented as far back as 5,000 years ago? The Egyptians and Indian cultures would use joinery methods like the beautiful dovetail joint, which we still use today. Even many of the methods the Japanese culture used are still very prevalent in our quality joinery methods today.

So why do we use wooden joints if it takes so much longer to build? Using wooden joints provides strength, flexibility, toughness, and even a snappy appearance depending on the materials involved and the purpose of the joint. Construction and craftsmanship have taken many different shapes and forms over the years based on the culture and time era. However, as modern construction and furniture building has developed, the need to produce furniture quickly has pushed builders to turn away from quality joinery techniques and to use more screws, nails, and other methods. 

The builders we work with at Teak & Timber are well versed in wooden joinery and each piece that is built is meticulously pieced together using these ancient methods. Methods like mortise and tenon, dovetail joints, and cross lap joints are just a few of what we use that give our design’s strength. Because we want our pieces to last for generations, each one has many different wooden joints as part of their design. 

For example, many of our table designs use the mortise and tenon joint. This joint is said to be the strongest joint because of its mechanical strength. When building the joint, the builder takes advantage of the wood grain which runs all the way through the tenon. Designing the joint to work with the wood grain is what creates the strength of the joint. When building a large dining table, we ensure the tenon is thicker and larger, or maybe even use a double or twin tenon, which creates extra support for the weight the table will endure over the years. 

Here is a great video to give you a visual on different joinery methods. Sometimes it’s just easier to see an example to help paint a picture. Click HERE.

Often the very best joinery is only seen by the builder and not completely understood by simply looking at a finished piece. The saying, there’s more than meets the eye, could not be more fitting than in this context. When you own a piece that has been built with quality joinery, you can rest assured that it will be one passed from generation to generation.